If you think you have it bad because you’re quarantined, pity the poor wife of our favorite humor columnist, Jerry Zezima of the Hearst Connecticut Media Group and the Tribune News Service of Chicago. Because his aforementioned wife— Sue— is stuck in the house with him. As a tribute to her travails, he has just written “Diary of a Mad House Couple.” (And maybe you have a few diary entries like his.)
At the risk of being shot on sight, which is a possibility for me even under normal conditions, I am confined to my house with my lovely wife, Sue, who is beginning to wonder what would be worse: getting sick or being quarantined with me.
If you think you are bored out of your skull while confined to your house, too, read this diary.
Monday: Day one of the official hunkering down begins when Sue, a teacher’s assistant, learns that school has been canceled indefinitely.
“My job has been canceled forever,” I tell her.
“You’re retired,” she points out.
“That’s why,” I respond.
“What do you want to do?” Sue asks.
I wiggle my eyebrows. She rolls her eyeballs.
“Is that all you can think about?” she huffs.
“Of course not,” I say. “Sometimes I think about hockey.”
“My God,” Sue sighs. “This is going to be hell.”
Tuesday: We turn on the television to see medical experts (none of whom is a politician) tell us to wash our hands.
I go into the bathroom and follow orders. I lose count of the number of times I have lathered up, which works me into a lather because the total must exceed the entire population of Luxembourg.
“We could have our own soap opera,” I tell Sue.
She shakes her head sadly.
I paraphrase the Stealers Wheel song: “You’re stuck in the house with me.”
Sue goes to bed. Tomorrow will be another long day.
Wednesday: Sue says she has to go to the store for essentials.
“Beer and wine?” I ask.
“Soap and sanitizer,” she replies.
“Buy some lotion, too,” I say. “The skin on my hands is starting to peel off.”
“The store may be out of it,” Sue says.
“I hope not,” I say. “At this rate, I’ll bleed to death.”
Sue takes wipes and gloves with her.
“Be careful,” I say. “And don’t breathe until you get back home.”
Thursday: The situation is, of course, very serious. Tens of thousands are infected and many have already died. But I am starting to get really annoyed at newscasters and politicians who urge me to follow strict guidelines “out of an abundance of caution.”
“As opposed to what?” I ask Sue. “A minimum of it?”
I also have noticed that everyone in the United States — except me — now has a medical degree. They’re all experts in what I should or shouldn’t do and do not hesitate to say that whatever I have been doing to stay safe is totally wrong.
I hope the real doctors find a vaccine soon.
Friday: It has been five days since Sue and I have been quarantined. While we have been happily married for almost 42 years, we are starting to get on each other’s nerves.
“Togetherness is nice,” she says, “but there is such a thing as too much of it.”
“Just wait until you’re retired,” I say.
“If this is what retirement will be like,” Sue tells me, “I may have to get a part-time job.”
“Get one in a liquor store,” I say. “We’re almost out of wine.”
Saturday: I go to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription. The pharmacist is wearing a mask.
“Are you robbing the place?” I ask her.
She smiles (I think) and says, “No. This is out of an abundance of caution.”
I stifle a scream, pay for the medicine and make a beeline out of there.
Sunday: I tell Sue that we can’t go to church.
“We haven’t gone in years,” she reminds me.
Instead, we give each other the sign of peace and share a kiss.
“We’re pretty lucky,” I say.
“Yes, we are,” Sue replies sweetly. “Now wash your hands.”
Copyright 2020 by Jerry Zezima
Jerry’s latest book is, “Nini and Poppie’s Excellent Adventures: Grandkids, Wine Clubs, and Other Ways to Keep Having Fun.”